Deaths in the United States from drug overdoses increased by 30% in 2020, reaching over 93,000. This number is the highest ever recorded.
Why? Because of the pandemic. Lockdowns made getting treatment difficult. Stay-at-home orders prevented people from being able to attend group therapy sessions or one-on-one sessions with their therapists. Feelings of being isolated increased, which is a factor in anxiety and depression and can lead to drug use.
Plus, dealers laced more drugs with a powerful synthetic opioid. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the “National Institutes of Health,” drug dealers mixed fentanyl with cocaine and methamphetamine more frequently than they had in the past. This boosted the effects of the drugs.
Opioids were found to be involved in 74.7% of all overdose deaths.
The highest increases in overdose deaths were seen in:
- Vermont, up 57.6%
- Kentucky, up 54%
- South Carolina, up 52%
- West Virginia, up nearly 50%
- California, up 46%
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